Valentine’s Day

It took me a minute, and then I realized that I DIDN’T POST ABOUT OUR VALENTINE’S DAY!

What on earth is wrong with me?

So here’s the rundown.

Randy and I were lucky enough to get a gift card to La Caille and decided that Valentine’s Day would be the perfect venue for such a date. Valentine’s Day itself had a specific menu and was a little more expensive, so we opted to have our V-Day date on the13th of February.

We got home from our days and got all dolled up, an drove up to La Caille. It’s a gorgeous drive up, light lined trees and swans in the pond. We gave the car to the valet and walked around the grounds a little bit, but it was kinda freezing.

We then went inside the beautiful chateau looking restaurant and waited for our reservation time. When we got upstairs to our table right next to the fireplace and it was SO beautiful. We ordered some fancy French raspberry cream soda which was SO delicious. Then brought bread with the most yummy black-salt butter, and we ordered escargot and French onion soup. Both were SO tasty! It was Randy’s first time eating escargot and he really liked it! I’ve had escargot before and they did a really good job. They also brought out lamb pate and it was SO good. I had never had pate before, and I absolutely loved it!

They brought us a palette cleansing sorbet which was tasty, and then it was the main event (we were already SO full but we made do!)

Randy ordered a filet mignon with crab mashed potatoes and veggies. It was a fantastic piece of steak and such delicious food!

I had scallops with a truffle risotto and vegetables, and MAN it was so good.

The whole time we were there we were people watching, chatting and sharing memories, and just having the best time. We thought the fancy experience was something Muffy and Tipper, our high school fancy alter-egos, would have loved.

We ordered dessert and shared an absolutely amazing chocolate torte with ice cream and cherry sauce. So wonderful!

It was such a fun and romantic night, a fantastic experience that we probably wouldn’t have done without those gift cards! So huge thank you to my boss!

On actual Valentine’s Day, I woke up early and made Randy some breakfast and we exchanged our homemade gifts, which was SO awesome. Randy wrote me a beautiful song, and I made Randy a love-note video. It was so awesome.

Valentine’s Day is all about love, and it was so wonderful to have a special night with the love of my life.

His 22nd Year

Randy’s 22nd year came to a close, and the 23rd year has begun! I have a feeling this year is going to be a great one, he has so many amazing things ahead.

His 22nd year was filled with:

  • Working
  • Going to school (and killing it)
  • Helping friends, family, and our ward constantly
  • Running meetings and teaching lessons
  • Getting even better at every instrument (if that was even possible)
  • Late night laughs
  • Deep discussions
  • Letting me lean on him
  • Leading our family
  • Photo shoots and videography
  • Helping with weddings and funerals
  • Giving blessings
  • Reading lots of books and seeing lots of movies
  • Making dinners
  • Fun vacations
  • Family time
  • And so much love!
So for a celebration of the amazing year ahead, here’s 23 things about Randy that I simply adore.
1. How the goofiest and weirdest things make him bust a gut laughing
2. How much he cares about his school work and wants to do well
3. How funny he is when he first wakes up
4. How he researches haircuts so he can get exactly what he wants
5. How much he loves shopping with me
6. How much he cares about our friends, family, and ward members and will drop anything to help them
7. How he grabs my hand when we’re in the car
8. The way he obsesses over music and listens to the same notes or guitar riffs over and over again
9. How kind he is to people even when he doesn’t want to be
10. How he always compliments my cooking, even when I know it’s not the best
11. How he dances at weddings
12. How my friends are also his best friends, and vice versa
13. How supportive he is of all my crazy ideas and ambitions
14. How he snores and doesn’t even realize he’s been doing it
15. How quickly he picks up any piece of music he wants
16. How our home is always filled with music, either his playing or him listening to music
17. The way he tickles me when I’m teasing him
18. The way he gets excited for “New Music Friday” on Spotify
19. The way he makes me feel better when I’m having a rough day
20. How he always goes along with me about whatever treat or snack I’m dying to have
21. How he always assumes we should get popcorn when we go to the movies
22. How excited he gets about the same TV shows or dramatic happenings as I do
23. I simply adore how much Randy loves me.
Happy birthday to my love!

Birthday Party[z]

Someone turned 23 on Saturday, so that meant an entire weekend of PARTYING.

Here’s how it went down.

I had arranged to have Randy get off work earlier than normal. He got home, and I was home for lunch from work. I told him I was working from home that afternoon, but I wanted to go get a treat or something. Before he had gotten home from work, I had packed our bags and loaded them in the back of the car. We hopped in and I started driving towards the freeway. He asked where we were going and I said I didn’t know, I just wanted to go around and go someplace fun! I said I had heard of a juice place downtown that I had wanted to try, so we should go there. We drove and chatted, then I got off the freeway downtown. I turned down a street, and Randy asked where we were going. I said I had made a wrong turn, then pulled through the Little America parking lot. Suddenly, I parked! Randy asked me what we were doing, and I said “Oh we’re staying here tonight.” Randy was in SHOCK. He kept asking where is stuff was and how he was packed. We checked in and I told him everything, from how I’d gotten him off work early to packing the car, and he couldn’t believe it!

We went to City Creek and did some shopping with Randy’s birthday money, and grabbed some dinner. Then it was back to the hotel for swimming and a movie night, complete with treats we’d picked up earlier.

We had breakfast in bed the next morning, and the Little America breakfast is one of my favorites!

We both agreed that this little mini getaway was EXACTLY what we had been needing. Things had been a little stressful and crazy, and spending Randy’s birthday surprising him and doing fun things was perfect.

Saturday was Randy’s actual birthday and we went to Guitar Center, did some more shopping, went to dinner, and just had a super great day. Randy talked to his brother and got so many texts from friends, which was awesome. Saturday night our friends Caleb and Nannette came over and we blew out candles on brownies.

Sunday was family party day! We went to Randy’s parent’s house and had an AMAZING lunch, salmon and rice and stuffed mushrooms, the works! We had a delicious berry cake and had a great time chatting and laughing.

Then we went to my parent’s house where we had an AMAZING dinner, steak and potatoes and roasted veggies. We blew out candles on three different cakes (angel food and chocolate, what else!) and had a great time.

Monday we woke up and went for a walk with my family, playing games at the park, then went and visited my grandparents. Then it was off to Crown Burger for a great lunch. Randy and I were going, going, going, all day Monday! After lunch with the family, we went and saw Lion which was SO AMAZING. I cried like a baby, it was so sad and tender and wonderful.

Then SURPRISE AGAIN – we met up with friends in Provo and had dinner and went to GetOut Games. Randy was shocked again! It was so fun to get to spend time with our friends, and GetOut Games was SO fun, I would go again in a heartbeat.

I took a few videos throughout the weekend, which I’ll be putting together shortly! We also snapped some great photos on an excursion up the canyon last weekend, so I’ll be putting those all together soon too.

So in summary, Randy had a great birthday weekend (I hope, I had fun!) I’ll be putting up a blog post all about him, some videos from the weekend, and our canyon photos soon! So stay tuned!

 

Lessons On Love: Tough Love

I think people sometimes get confused about what love is. Sometimes, love is telling someone they are making poor choices. Sometimes it’s telling them you won’t help them. Sometimes it’s helping people see that there are so many other, more important things.

Tough love is a concept that’s hard to grasp for some people. I feel like it’s about loving someone enough to help them, even if they don’t always want or appreciate help.

Of course, sometimes you have to let people make their own choices. You have to stand on the sidelines and let them run their lives.

But that doesn’t mean you in any way have to say that you agree, or help them make poor decisions.

I learned a great lesson about tough love during high school. The tough love came from the most loving person I have ever known, my Heavenly Father.

I didn’t do anything crazy, but I didn’t always make the best choices as a teenager, like many teenagers. I didn’t make some good decisions, and it lead me to a lot of heart ache and hurt.

I remember praying and praying to figure out what to do better, for help to be a better person, etc.

The impression came so clear to me, “Maddy, just knock it off. Just stop it. Just stop being so stupid.”

Now that was probably my own mind saying those specific words, but the message from Heaven was clear. Tough love means that sometimes you’re told to just knock it off. To grow up, to stop making bad decisions. That wake up call was exactly what I needed. It taught me about my life, and it taught me SO much about love.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one I am SO grateful for. Love doesn’t mean it’s always easy, sugar coated, lovey-dovey language. Sometimes love means telling someone something, or hearing something, that you didn’t want to hear or say. And you do it anyway.

Because you love them.

Lessons On Love: Love Grows

I was in love with Randy when I was 17 years old. 
But it’s not the same love I have today.
People always say that when you’re young you can’t be in love, but I don’t believe that. I believe that when I was 5, I “loved” my kindergarten boyfriend as much as my little five year old heart could.
I believe that the heart break I had in the 9th grade was as painful for my 15 year old heart as heart break could be.
I believe that falling in love with Randy when I was 17 was the most love I could feel for him, and it wasn’t as much as it is now, but it was still love.
Love has taught me that over time it grows and changes, develops and blossoms. I love Randy so differently now than I did when we first got married. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t love, or that one love is better. It is just different.
And that’s an amazing gift that we get from love.

Lessons On Love: My Marriage

My marriage has taught me more about love than just about anything.

As many of you know, Randy and I started dating when we were still in high school. Watching someone go from being just my friend, to my crush, to my high school sweetheart, to my missionary, to my fiance, it all was so crazy and full of transitions.

But the biggest transition was going from all of that, to full-time husband and wife.

You see the thing is, Randy and I already knew SO much about each other. We were well past the “honeymoon stage” so to speak, when we got married. There were already habits about each other that we found annoying, and we already weren’t afraid to fight. I’m not saying we weren’t crazy newlyweds, because we were and still are, but over the years we had seen things about each other and knew each other. But that didn’t mean marriage was easy. It was going from a comfortable cadence that we already had, to shifting everything. It was about every, single decision that we made being about the other person instead of about ourselves. It was about forgetting our past to an extent, and plowing forward.

A lot of people say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and for us it 100% was.

But that first year of marriage taught me more about myself, and about love, than I could have ever imagined.

I learned about what vulnerability really looks like. I really understood for the first time the power we give to the people we love. I know with a word, Randy could utterly destroy me, and I could do that to him. Love is about giving someone your very heart and soul, fully knowing that sometimes they’re going to mess up and hurt you. It’s giving them that power anyway, and taking that from them and working so hard to build and love.

I learned about forgiveness. Randy forgave me time and time again for a million little mistakes, and I learned how to not pick and hold a grudge about every little thing.

I learned about choosing words carefully, about saying things with love, about honesty and communication.

I learned that relationships take work because people aren’t perfect. But you can still be 100% perfect for each other without being perfect individuals.

I learned about being strong for each other, leaning on each other, and never forgetting what is most important to me.

I learned that being an individual is important, but that’s not as important as being one with my husband. It’s a hard line to walk, the balance between not losing your identity and being in a marriage. But I 100% know that I need Randy. And I had to learn to be OK with needing someone, relying on someone, being dependent on him. It’s not a bad thing, it’s the best thing for our marriage. We need each other, we depend on each other, we make decisions for each other and our family.

Now, some of you are probably thinking that Randy and I fought all the time and that we don’t really love each other, which couldn’t be further from the truth! Every relationship has hard times, as well as great times, and we have had so many wonderful and amazing times together. We’re not perfect, our relationship isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t change one single thing about it, past or present.

Being married to my best friend opened my eyes to so many things, and Valentine’s Day gave me every opportunity to express and relish in that love. I just love love, this month full of love and hope, and the chance we all have to strengthen relationships and learn even more about loving.

Lessons On Love: Galentine’s Day

Today is Galentine’s Day, which is one of my FAVORITE days.

I have so many lovely ladies in my life who are the best friends I could ask for.

The lessons I have learned from them are innumerable, but there’s a specific one I want to talk about.

The love of a friend is beyond who you like spending time with at the mall, who you hang out with in class or at work, who is fun to talk to about movies and boys.

It’s the people who you can call, sobbing, who will drop anything to come help you. It’s the people who will spend their time making sure you know they care, they make you feel loved and so appreciated.

It’s the ones you call just to chat, you make time for, the ones that you haven’t seen in years but it still feels perfect when you get back together.

It’s the women that make me want to be a better woman. The women who help me see my potential and who make me stronger. It’s the women I want to emulate and who see more in me than I can see in myself.

I’m not always as good of a Galentine as I’d like to be. I’m certainly working on it though.

I have so much love for the women who taught me that there is an army of support waiting for me.

I also don’t have pics of all my Galentine’s here on this computer, so these few will have to suffice!

Lessons On Love: Mary’s Love

I have spent a lot of my scripture study and other time thinking about the women in the Bible and Book of Mormon. But the one I think about most, is Mary.
I think about how young she was. I think about how scared she must have been. I think about her bravery. I think about how little she really knew, but how much she comprehended all in the same moment.
I wonder how she at 14, was ready to become the mother of the most important person to ever walk the earth. 
I think it is such a testament to motherhood that God knew that Jesus Christ needed a mother, more than just about anything. He needed someone to teach him to pray, to help him learn to read, to teach him about love. 
Mary holds a special place in my heart, and as I have thought about her during Love Month, I think it’s so important to realize that she had a kind of love that I will never understand. Jesus Christ wasn’t only her Savior, but her son. 
The lesson I learned from Mary is that no matter how scared I feel, no matter how little I understand, I have the capacity and responsibility to love.

Lessons On Love: Love Through the Eyes of Someone Who Sucks At Love

My record is 1900.
1900 right-swipes on Tinder before I got a single match. Almost 3 weeks of swiping right on literally. Every. Single. Person. Until I reach the daily limit of 100 swipes before I got a match of some stupid podcast advertising their stupid show on this stupid dating app. You could say I was a little bitter. Of course I deleted the damn thing.
It’s a constant battle. A war between the conscience and the thumb. It sounds silly, right? Some people thrive in the world of online dating; utilizing it to it’s full potential without any sign of tarnish on their static minds. Don’t get me wrong… I have spent my fair share on apps like Tinder, constantly trying to justify myself with thoughts that “everybody does it” or “it’s only for fun” when in the end, my behaviors go against every thought I believe in. Why would I “waste my valuable time with such immature frivolities when I could be doing more productive with my life?” I ask myself, a lot. But why am I telling you this? Let me elaborate.
First, sup. My name is Alexon Tiem. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a long time friend of the Lows. When given the opportunity to write for Maddy’s blog, I thought to myself in what world am I qualified to write about luuurrrrvvveee? I’ve never been in a relationship, I’ve never been in love, hell- I’ve never even kissed a girl. Right now I’m sitting here subjecting myself to the future judgement of all you readers while I’m trying to drown out the sound of my roommate watching Minions by the smooth sounds of Dallas Green. (Seriously. You don’t even need my dumb lesson about love when you have artists like him to woo your thirsty heart. Mmm.)
So why would I get on here and start revealing secrets about my decorated love history (haha) to an online audience of mostly strangers? Not because I’m in any urgent need to fulfill my physical desires like a normal human being. But we all know people who rush to be in a relationship, not knowing what they want, who they’re going to be with, their own lives teetering between the peaks of “yolo” and the pits of “lol” reflecting the sheer inability to even take care of themselves while trying to proclaim some nonexistent message to those following on social media. But what about those who are ready? Ready to take care of another life. Ready to be taken care of by another life? It’s basic conceptual math. Being single + being ready – everything that defines the structure of a relationship? Loneliness. Loneliness can do crazy things to a person. Trust me.
Loneliness made me believe love didn’t exist.
Hold up. What a dumb thing to say, right? Of course love exists. You look around and you can’t avoid it. The cheese, the ooey-gooey feelings, the lovey-dovey mush of words that wriggles its way out of the superficial crevices of relationships and surfaces to the eyes of social media onlookers. But love has an infinite number of definitions. I’m not here to tell you that. It’s common sense! You ask anybody, and they’ll give you completely different answers. You ask anybody actually in love, and they’ll answer with things they’d never post in public- or even have the ability to post in public. Let me explain with a story:
I worked for a few years on one of the trauma units at Intermountain Medical Center. We deal with a fair amount of death. I remember a few months into the job, I had an old lady who was put on palliative care (basically life support) following a pretty bad trauma in addition to a long battle against cancer. She wasn’t strong enough to heal herself, and it took her about 5 hours to die. The only other person in the room with her was her husband of nearly 70 years. He told me stories about their love when they first started dating, all the way through the end of their marriage- and you could just tell by the way his spirit lit up the enormity of how much he really, truly, loved her. Don’t get me wrong, the stories were amazing. But it wasn’t the content that made me believe how much he loved this little old lady. There are some things you can’t explain with words. Love is one of them.
The absence of love can make a person desperate. Desperate to a fault as to where any actions that take place can have an extremely detrimental effect. So what did I mean by “loneliness made me believe that love didn’t exist?” I meant that it didn’t exist for people like me. People who can sit there and talk people through their relationship problems. People who can sit there and write songs about some imaginary girl they have this unlimited amount of love for. People whose every actions reflected their ability to love, all while never having a taste of it themselves. We all know those people. “Those people” have it rough. They have enough knowledge to know what to do, everything they’re doing wrong, and still by the sheer order of the universe can’t seem to make anything work out.
But you just have to wait.
Because one day, you may have driven over a hundred miles to hang out with a girl you’re interested in… Only to have her go to bed with a random stranger while you’re stuck sleeping on the couch.
Because one day, a girl you’ve had feelings for asks you to cook dinner for her… and another guy she’s interested in.
Because one day, a girl you tutor at school may tell you that “if any other guy was as smart as you, she’d date him.”
Because one day, you may befriend a really cute girl. A year later when you find out she’s recently single, you may want to ask her out. She may tell you the same day that she’s moving to Alaska.
Because one day, you’ll take a “weekend trip” with a bunch of couples and you’re stuck in the middle of Bear Lake by yourself because everybody around you is too busy making out with each other, so you see how far out in the water you can swim without a lifejacket.
Because one day, you realize that 0/1900 girls thinks you’re cute enough to date.
But when people tell you over and over and over to “put yourself out there” and “don’t lose hope.” You think about your past failures. You think about the fatigue. You think about the constant rejection. You think about all the work, the time, the effort for little to no emotional or physical gain. You think it’s a waste of time.
Then you grow up.
Because one day, you realize that you aren’t entitled to love.
Because one day, you realize the world isn’t out to get you.
Because one day, you realize that if you want something, you better get off your damn ass and get it.
Because one day, you’ll realize that all the hardships, all the failure, the rejection have offered their lessons. You just have to open your mind and realize that. Take the lessons, utilize them, learn from them.
Because one day, you’ll realize that you’d have never been able to talk the multitudes of people down from the ledge if you haven’t gone through the same things yourself.
Because one day, when you’re sitting around with a bunch of your closest friends, you realize how much you actually love them. You realize all the rejection of what you once knew as “love”, made you love what is actually important to you. That maybe, if you put your focus on things that actually matter, somehow, the pain disappears and everything else aligns to fills the voids in your life. People have different ways of approaching this. Whether they do it alone, or with someone else, sooner or later, they’ll come to the realization that the ability to love is in a direct relationship with their ability to grow. All it takes is that first step.
Until that day, at least it’ll make a good ass song.